Rub shoulders with the locals at this buzzing market and entertainment district on the south shore of False Creek selling a variety of produce close to central Vancouver. Shop for bargains and enjoy good food in the unique atmosphere of Granville Island. The Public Market boasts arts and crafts, bath products, fresh pasta, seafood, baked goods, gourmet cheese, and fast-food counters to name just a few things. Live and public performances are common occurrences, providing a reason to stay a while and soak up the culture of this trendy locale.
Granville Island: Regeneration success
It's not so long ago that the island was considered as an industrial area not suitable for the public, but a lot has changed since. In the 1880s, the island had sawmills, slaughterhouses and iron works and was a thriving industrial area. After World War II, a series of fires and changes to the economy meant that the area would fall from grace. In the 1970s, however, the island made a comeback as the upscale, tourist-friendly destination it is today. It's now considered an area that cities around the world wish to emulate.
Locally sourced goodies
Looking for a gift or souvenir from Vancouver? You're sure to find something in this 3,900 square meter public space. There's a whole host of trendy boutiques with original clothing and accessories, custom leather fashions, and handmade jewelry and crafts. The children aren't left out either; the Kids Market caters for the smaller person's tastes and styles, selling beautiful handcrafted toys, puppets, and clothes. Pick up a picnic with the variety of fresh foods on sale, from Fraser Valley strawberries to Dungeness crabs. From mid-June to October there's an additional Farmers Market, which sells fresh produce from local family-run farms.
There's plenty of patios and parks that are great spots to lay down a blanket and tuck in. There's also loads of delis, restaurants and lunch counters where you can tuck into prepared meals such as Japanese noodles or pizza.
Music and entertainment for all
The area is also replete with breweries, theaters and galleries, providing numerous ways to entertain yourself as you explore the island. Enjoy the sights and sounds of street performers who are dotted around the area and showing off their juggling, balloon animal and musical talents. Granville Island also hosts a number of different festivals. From the Vancouver International Jazz Festival to Winterruption arts and culture festival and from Chinese New Year to Vancouver International Children's Festival, the island sees it all during the year. The island also has its very owns Water Park, which is the largest free attraction of its kind in North America.
Watch as the kids discover the exciting water pipes and slides. The island is linked to the rest of Vancouver by a causeway. Arrive by bicycle, ferry, bus or on foot from downtown, as parking can be difficult.